The Dark Side of Inspiration

I’m a sucker for inspirational quotes. For the most part, I enjoy them. I try to live by them. They lift me up, they bolster my spirit and they keep me going.

Sometimes, though, I can’t help but want to poke holes in them. And for as much as I think I enjoy them, I think that I need to do more than merely try to live by them. I need to ingest them, I need to do better by them.

They say that you must make a choice to take a chance if you want your life to change. I feel like I’ve decided to take a lot of chances in the love category (I won’t beat around the bush here), but they seem to have been the wrong ones. The only thing that seems to have changed in my life is my desire to take more chances.

They tell us to never regret anything that made us smile. I want to adopt this as my mantra, but at the end of the day, I usually end up feeling stupid for those smiles. I kick myself and think that I should’ve known better, or maybe what I thought I knew was all in my head. I really have no idea. It’s hard to tell which way is up sometimes.

They tell us that if we’re brave enough to say goodbye, we’ll be rewarded with a new hello. In reality, I often find myself wanting to hold on to that from which I walked away. There’s no human reason to want this, since it seems incredibly needy, but I do. I don’t want a new hello. I want to find redemption and peace in the old.

They say to never lose hope, for when the sun goes down, the stars come out. Sometimes, however, I find that all I can acknowledge is the darkness.

They tell us to adopt the pace of nature, for her secret is patience. I think I’ve failed in this area over and over and over again. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll learn patience only when I’m in the winter of my life and unable to do anything for myself. Frustration will set in, then I’ll be resigned to the way things are. And if that’s not patience, I don’t know what is.

They say that life isn’t about avoiding risks, but instead about making calculations and going all in with the things you love. I’ll extend this saying to people, as well. But what happens when you go all in and it doesn’t come back to you? It hurts, that’s what happens.

They tell us to be a blessing, a friend, to encourage someone, to take time to care, and to let our words heal and not wound. For someone who appreciates writing, I fail miserably at this last one. Consistently. Dare I say it sometimes feels like the only consistent thing in my life.

All of this may lead one to wonder what my ‘thanky’ is for today. But it’s really quite simple: I’m thankful that the dark side of inspiration — the negative spin on beautiful quotes — has made me realize that I need to be better to others and do better for myself in order to see the positive. I can’t imagine a day when I’ll have no more I-wish-I-wouldn’t-have’s, but I’m thankful for the power in inspirational sayings and their desire to make me want to see more clearly, fix the mistakes I continually make and be better for me. And for others.

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